Boston Wine Expo 2017: Grand Tasting & Vintners’ Reserve Lounge

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On February 18-19 I attended the 26th annual Boston Wine Expo in Boston Massachusetts. It’s my 6th year at this event which I think is one of the best consumer events in the country. In addition to the many seminars, the main floor of the convention center hosted the Grand Tasting which poured hundreds of wine and the smaller, more intimate Vintner’s Reserve Lounge which featured higher end wines that were not served at the Grand Tasting. After attending the Seminars and Vintner’s Lounge on Saturday, I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon at the Grand Tasting.  Some of what I sampled:


Vintner’s Lounge

2014 Louis Latour Corton-Charlamagne (Burgundy). Light yellow, tropical fruit on the nose, full melon and honey notes on the fruit, nice balance.

2015 King Estate Pinot Noir (Oregon). Medium purple, spicy plum on the nose, bright fruit.

2013 King Estate Pinot Noir “Domaine” (Oregon). Medium to light red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, tart and light on the fruit.

2012 Grgich Hills Merlot (Napa Valley). Black in color, ripe plums and dried herbs on the nose, chunky fruit with a firm finish.

2013 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black with a purple rim, closed nose of dark raspberry, juicy, ripe black fruit.

2014 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black with a purple rim, dried herbs and cherry on the nose, dark chocolate on the moderate finish that drops a bit at the end.

2014 Frogs Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford). Dark  red, closed nose of black fruit, ginger and spice, tight, bright fruit.

2013 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with a perfume fo plum and crushed black fruit, thick and juicy with tobacco notes on the fruit.

2013 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Rockaway” (Alexander Valley). Dark red with a purple rim, fresh herbs on the nose, tight, silky finish with some heat.

2012 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alexander’s Crown” (Alexander Valley). Dark red with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, silky, juicy with moderate acids. Drinkable.

2011 Domodimonti “Passione e Visione” (Marche). Petit Verdot, inky black, perfume of violets with silky tannins on the crushed dark fruit, great grip on the finish.

2011 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium brick, closed nose of plum, silky graphite fruit, great balance.

2011 Antinori Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany). Medium brick, roast nuts and red cherry and pencil shavings on the, silky fruit with a nice grip of tannin at the finish.

Grand Tasting

2016 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare Rosé (Central Coast). Very light pink, cotton candy nose, juicy with fresh herbs and strawberry fruit.

2014 Qupé Roussanne “Bien Nacido” (Santa Maria Valley). Light yellow, spicy cinnamon on the nose, honeydew, tropical fruit on the finish, nice balance.

2014 Treana Winery “Blanc” (Paso Robles). A Rhone blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne, medium yellow, dark floral nose, earth and roast nuts on the fruit.

2011 Tenuta La Gigliola Canaiolo (Tuscany). A varietal that’s not usually bottled on its own, medium brick, closed nose of barnyard, juicy graphite fruit, bitter almond on the finish.

2014 Concha y Toro Carmenere Gran Reserva (Chile). Dark red to black, fresh herbs on the nose, chunky, chewy with mint notes on the finish.

2012 Kenneth Volk Grenache “Rio San Benito Vineyard” (San Benito County). Light brick, fresh rosemary and graphite on the nose, juicy red leather fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2011 Qupé Grenache “Lindquist Vineyard” (Edna Valley). Medium red, smoky tree bark on the nose, bright smoky cherry fruit, moderate to low acid.

2011 Qupé Syrah “Lindquist Vineyard” (Edna Valley). Medium red, pretty perfume of violets and graphite with dusty, graphite fruit on the moderate finish.

2014 English Hills Pinot Noir (Vacaville). Light red with a big stinky nose, silky red cherry fruit and a bright finish.

2011 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany). Dark red to black, warm turned earth on the nose, chewy with black licorice notes on the fruit and finish.



Boston Wine Expo 2016

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This past weekend, February 13-14 I attended the 25th anniversary of the Boston Wine Expo held at the  Seaport World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel along the Boston waterfront. With the grand tasting featuring 1,800 wines from over 200 wineries, various seminars, a vintner’s tasting room with high-end wines and chef demonstrations, it’s one of the best consumer wine shows in the country and I look forward attending every year.

Last year was the year of the blizzards in Boston with record amount of snowfall in that city. That year I was able to make it up to the Saturday event only to have a blizzard shut down the event (and the city) on Sunday. Thankfully, this year Boston did not have that problem and Mother Nature cooperated with clear days that weekend in both New York City and Boston. But Mother Nature still had ways to throw a wrench into the works. On Thursday I came down with a stomach virus that knocked the wind out of me and was hoping that by Saturday afternoon, things would calm down.

On both days of the event, the trade is let in a couple of hours before the consumers are and on Saturday afternoon I was at the check-in booth at the start time and ready to go. Unfortunately the lingering effects of the stomach virus keep me from tasting that day. Fortunately on Sunday morning I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to drink some juice.



Wine Spectator’s Gems Of Napa Valley, a sit-down tasting of fifteen Napa wines.

2014 Honig Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Light yellow with greenish tints, grassy  nose, crisp and grassy.

2014 Merryville Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Light yellow with green tints, peachy lemon on the nose with moderate peach, grass and kiwi fruit.

2014 Kenefick Ranch White “Pickett Road” (Calistoga). Yellow with greenish tints, lime and spicy nutmeg on the nose, moderate oak on the fruit, balanced finish.

2013 Starmont Chardonnay (Carneros). Light yellow with green tints, closed nose of mango, tight and crisp, balanced.

2013 Artesa Chardonnay “Estate Reserve” (Carneros). Medium gold, hazelnut, oak on the nose with tropical fruit notes and good acidity.

2014 Rombauer Chardonnay (Carneros). Light gold, lime and melon on the nose, medium juicy with menthol notes on the moderate to long finish.

2013 Davies Pinot Noir “Hyde Vineyard” (Carneros). Medium red with dark plum and black olive on the nose, juicy plum fruit and good balance.

2013 Truchard Pinot Noir (Carneros). Medium to dark red, sweet strawberry on the nose, juicy with some green fruit on the finish.

2012 Paraduxx Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Black with a purple robe, slate and mint on the nose with dark, concentrated fruit and crushed rock notes on the balanced finish.

2012 St. Supéry Merlot (Napa Valley). Black in color with a closed nose of ground charcoal, and dark chocolate, tight with graphite notes on the concentrated finish. Very enjoyable.

2012 Madrigal Petite Sirah (Napa Valley). Inky black, brambly and dark berries on the nose, jammy and juicy with graphite tannins.

2013 Round Pound Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Kith & Kin” (Napa Valley). Black in color with blueberry and tea on the nose with concentrated, silky tannin and black licorice on the finish.

2012 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Vintner Select” (Napa Valley). Black in color with a light purple robe, raspberry and black olive on the nose,  with juicy red fruit and a crisp finish.

2010 Knights Bridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Dr.Crane Vineyard” (Napa Valley).  Dark red with a purple robe, plum and black cherry on the nose, harsh with high acid on the finish. Not the best in the pack.

2012 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Select” (Napa Valley).  Inky black with blueberry and menthol on the nose, mint and roast meat on the dense and concentrated fruit, dried herbs on the juicy finish. Big wine.

Vintner’s Reserve Lounge

A separate tasting lounge with some extra special juice.

2011 Bodega Catena Zapata Chardonnay Adriana Vineyard “White Stones” (Argentina). Gold in color, ripe mango on the nose with juicy ripe tropical fruit.

2009 Louis Latour Meaursalt-Blagney (Burgundy). Medium gold, floral dried flowers on the nose, tight with earthy floral notes on the firm finish.

2012 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne (Burgundy). Medium gold with dried flowers on the nose, tight and balanced with just enough tropical fruit notes on the finish. Tasty.

2008 Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault “Les Perrières” (Burgundy). The local wine school had a table pouring wines with some bottle age to them. Many were over the hill or on their way there except this one. Medium yellow with a ripe nose, mineral notes on the ripe fruit and nicely balanced.

2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (Bordeaux). Dark gold, dusty ripe apricot and botrytis on the nose, silky peach fruit with nice acidity and a long finish.


2012 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford). Dark red with a purple robe, closed nose of dried herbs, dense, dusty, chewy with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

2012 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour” (Napa Valley). Dark red with a purple robe, floral, black pepper and black fruit on the nose, dense with silky tannin and green herbs on the finish.

2012 Sterling Vineyards “Platinum Reserve”. (Napa Valley). Dark purple, black licorice on the nose, dense and dusty with bright fruit and a firm finish.

2012 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve”. (Napa Valley). Dark red, purple robe, slate and crushed rock on the nose, dense and tight with dried herbs on the firm, balanced finish.

2013 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, very fruity nose, chewy dark chocolate fruit. Plush.

2012 William Cole Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Cuvée Clair” (Napa Valley). 100% Cabernet, dark purple with red licorice on the fruit forward juice, good balance.

2012 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon “Bin 707” (Australia) . Dark red with slate and dried herbs on the nose, tight and silky with great balance.

2010 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec “Nicasia ” (Argentina). Dark red, ripe berries on the nose, dense with some salinity on the fruit.

2010 Bodega Catena Zapata “Nicolás Catena Zapata”. (Argentina). Their flagship wine, a blend of  Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Decanted, black in color with a purple robe, slate and crushed rock on the nose, dense and concentrated with herbs and black licorice on the firm and balanced long finish.

2010 Usiglian del Vescovo “Il Barbiglione” (Tuscany). A super Tuscan, medium to dark red with a big nose of stinky black cherry, tight, medium dusty fruit, silky tannin at the balanced finish.


Boston Wine Expo 2014 Sunday

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I had a very nice tasting at the Vintners Reserve Lounge on Saturday and today, Sunday I concentrated my time in the main tasting area as well as attending a couple of seminars. There were plenty of wines to sample from many countries, I began my tasting in the North America section of the convention hall and made my way to the California wines and was able to attend a couple of excellent seminars.  For a huge consumer event, the Boston Wine Expo poured some very drinkable juice.

Clos du Val 20011 Chardonnay (Carneros). Medium gold with big pineapple/tropical fruit on the nose with moderate, dusty fruit with some tartness on the long finish.

Clos du Val 2011 Pinot Noir (Carneros). Medium red with a nice perfume of earth and roasted meat with meaty and dried mushroom notes on the fruit with good balance.

Grassini Family Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Happy Canyon). Dark purple to black with a big perfume  of roasted meat and dark plums and was chewy with black licorice flavors on the finish.

Dylan’s Ghost 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon “Hell Hollow” (Napa Valley). Small production (400 cases) from a producer have never had before, dark red to black in color with a very dusty nose with dusty black plums on the fruit with a nice balance.

Dylan’s Ghost 2010 Red Blend “The Beast” (Napa Valley). Black with a nose of concentrated forest wood with concentrated black cherry fruit and moderate balance. A big wine.

Rombauer Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a nose of black licorice and crushed black berries and was thick and juicy with coffee and crushed berry fruit.

Fess Parker 2010 Pinot Noir “Ashley’s” (Sta. Rita Hills). Dark red spice and red cherry notes on the nose with chewy cola and black cherry fruit on the balanced finish..

Piandacco 2010 “Mairem” Rosso di Toscano (Tuscany). Dark red with mint on the nose, concentrated and tight with firm balance with sweet slate notes on the finish.

Altesino 2008 Brunello di Montelcino (Tuscany). Brick red, stinky nose and was velvety with great balance and a good grip.

Seminars                                                                                                                                                    Rioja Today

An excellent seminar given by Ana Fabiano, Trade Director, Rioja USA, we sampled seven wines from Rioja.

2012 Sierra Cantabria Rosado. Dark salmon pink in color with and earthy, forest floor nose with very good structure for a rose.

2010 Bodegas LAN Crianza. Medium to dark red with sweet basil and pickle juice on the nose with velvet fruit and dried herbs and wet stone notes on the long finish. Great balance.

2009 Marquis de Caceres Crianza. Dark red with hints of barnyard and pickle juice on the nose and was a little rustic and chunky with some heat at the end.

2011 Luis Canas Crianza. Dark red with a beautiful nose of tobacco, crushed rocks and crushed black berries with sweet black berry, wet stone and herbs on the fruit, nice grip and great balance. Delicious.

2008 Baron de Ley Reserva. Dark red to black with a big perfume of sweet plums and was juicy and velvety, balanced with good grip. Tasty.

2004 Bodegas Ontanon Reserva. Black in color with smoky tobacco on the nose and was very dark and chewy and concentrated. I though it had some corkiness notes at the beginning but my colleague’s to the left and right of me disagreed.

2004 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva. Black in color with a beautiful perfume of tobacco and smoky bacon and was very deep and concentrated and chewy followed by mint, tobacco and silky tannin on the long finish.

Matching Cheese with Wine

The local cheesemonger, Wasik’s Cheese Shop presented this seminar where they paired ten really excellent cheeses with six wines. The cheese plate alone was worth the price of the seminar. Piave Extra Vecchio (Veneto), Bijou Goat Cheese (Vermont), Mt. Vully (Swiss Alps), Brie de Lyon (Lyon, France), Pawlet (Vermont), Brie Traditional (Brie, France), Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (Swiss Alps), Humbolt Fog (California), Madaio Canestrato (Italy) and Colston Bassett Stilton (England).

Wines in the pairing that I enjoyed included the 2011 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay “Robert Young Vineyard”, the 2011 Etude Estate Pinot Noir, and the 2011 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon “Knight’s Valley).

Boston Wine Expo 2014 Saturday

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This past weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the Boston Wine Expo which was held at the Seaport World Trade Center. I Usually make it a one day affair and take the bus up and back later that evening which makes for a very hectic day. This year I decided to spend the weekend in town which made for a more relaxing experience. I and was able to get to Boston Saturday morning before the anticipated snowstorm hit and I  got to attend the events on both days so I was able to cover a lot of ground. The Expo was a consumer event but they had trade only hours before the event was opened to the public. The expo consisted of the “Grand Tasting” which was the main tasting event and was held in the warehouse size convention center, and the high-end “Vintner’s Reserve Lounge” tasting which was held along with the seminars in the hotel next door. On my first day, Saturday, I spent the day in the Reserve Lounge. Some nice juice and food including very tasty grass-fed beef from Uruguay which I heartily enjoyed. Some of what I sampled:


Bonny Doon 2011 Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Seco). A blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, it was medium gold with notes of white flowers on the nose and was medium bodied with mouth-watering, crisp acids on the finish.

Bonny Doon 2011 Le Cigare Blanc “Reserve” (Arroyo Seco). Same blend of Grenache and Roussane, unfiltered and cloudy, aged in demijohns with white flowers on the nose and notes of dried mushroom on the somewhat chewy fruit, nice balance.

Bonny Doon 2010 Le Cigare Blanc “Reserve” (Arroyo Seco). Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, unfiltered but clear, medium gold with an interesting nose of roasted meat and saffron with moderate mouth filling fruit on the nice balance with a long finish. Very tasty.

Littorai 2008 Chardonnay “Charles Heintz Vineyards” (Sonoma Coast). Very ripe nose of tropical fruit juicy but not overdone with good balance.

Phillippe Colin 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet (Burgundy). Light gold in color with moderate fruit with some tropical notes on the nose with some lemon tartness at the end but nice balance.

Domaine Borgeot 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot (Burgundy). Medium gold with white flowers on the nose with moderate tropical fruit followed by lime notes on the finish.

Captain Gagnerot 2011 1er Cru Ladoix (Burgundy). Medium gold with a nose of sweet flowers with nice mouth feel with lemon/lime notes on the finish.


Bonny Doon 2008 Le Cigare Volant (Central Coast). Medium to dark red in color with a nose of rip vegetables and dried herbs and was silky and dusty with herb notes on the fruit with a long finish and nice balance.

Boony Doon 2008 Le Cigare Volant “Reserve” (Central Coast). Medium dark with a nose of ripe vegetables and cigarette smoke and was juicy with a big hit of tannin at the end.

Winderlea Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). Light red in color, closed nose of earthy leather and was tight with very smoky fruit.

Winderlea Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). Medium red with a nose of red licorice with more fruit than the 2011 with tart cherry notes on the finish.

Alexana 2011 Pinot Noir “Revana Vineyard” (Dundee Hills). Medium red with a floral and bright leather nose with smoky leather on the moderate fruit with a bit of heat at the end.

Revana Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to  black in color with a nose of stewed fruit and black cherry with notes of roasted meat and plums on the velvet fruit and was firm and balanced at the end.

Le Saffre 2009 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red with dried leather on the nose with red cherry fruit and good balance.

Le Saffre 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). Black in color with a nose of stewed prunes, black cherry and camphor and was silky with forest floor notes on the balanced fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

Emmollo Winery 2011 Merlot (Napa Valley). A producer I’ve never tried before, it was black in color with a nose of dried herbs and black fruit and was dense and chewy with balanced tannin.

Caymus Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Select” (Napa Valley). Very black and very concentrated with mint notes on the balanced finish. I thought it was drinking great at this stage.

La Spinetta 2008 Barberesco  “Vigneto Gallina” (Piedmont). Medium to dark amber in color with a nose of dark fruit and cigar box on the velvet fruit with nice silky tannin on the firm finish.

La Spinetta 2005 Barolo “Vigneto Campe” (Piedmont). Medium to dark red with an amber robe with pencil shavings on the nose, silky fruit and silky, mouth filling tannins on the nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.

Ruffino 2004 Toscana Romitorio di Santedame (Tuscany). A blend of Colorino and Merlot, it was dark red to black in color with pencil shavings and black cherry on the nose with velvet fruit and hints of cigar box, great balance and a long finish.

La Serre Nuove dell Ornellaia 2010 (Tuscany).  The second label from Ornellaia, a Bordeaux blend with a nose of toasted oak, dark chocolate and dried herbs and was chewy and chunky with dusty fruit with mint notes and great balance.